Sustainable Building Design, Construction and Operation: The U.S. Green Building Council

Rick Fedrizzi, CEO US Green Building Council

Rick Fedrizzi, CEO US Green Building Council

There is a wave of change happening in the global design and construction industry and the U.S. Green Building Council is the catalyst.

In 1993, Rick Fedrizzi became the co-founder and chair of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  Little did he know that he and his colleagues were about to dramatically change the design and construction industry.

Today, there are 13,000 members of the USGBC. Since the launch of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) third-party verification of green buildings in 2000, LEED has grown from one rating system for new construction to a comprehensive program of nine interrelated rating systems covering all aspects of the development, design, construction and operation of a green building.

  • 60,000 projects are participating in LEED in more than 150 countries and territories covering more than 11 billion square feet.
  • 5 million employees are currently experiencing better indoor environmental quality and high-performance space in LEED buildings.
  • 88 of the Fortune 100 companies are using LEED as guidance in the design and construction of buildings.
  • Green Class A office space lease rates are 20 percent above average.
  • 200,000 individuals have earned their LEED Green Associate, LEED Accredited Professional or LEED Fellow credentials.
  • 85 million square feet of new or renovated buildings are being certified every day.

US Green Building Council seal

But beyond the obvious metrics, let’s look at how the USGBC and LEED-certified buildings are changing our lives. Consider:

  • The heightened energy efficiency of these buildings and the reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from their operation.
  • Those who are lucky to occupy the high-performance space as a result of the much-improved indoor environmental quality.
  • The restorative features associated with the green roofs, rain gardens and reflective spaces.
  • The significant reduction in waste and the use of recycled materials in construction that helps preserve our natural resources.
  • The millions of gallons of rainwater and stormwater that are recovered, recycled or directed to ground water recharge.

I am fortunate to work, teach and learn in one of the USGBC’s LEED-certified green buildings.  The sustainable design, construction and operation of our buildings is not a fad but rather the new ethic of our design and construction industry.  It is clear that the USGBC has transformed our expectation for buildings.

I am in awe of the extraordinary work of Rick Fedrizzi and his colleagues at the USGBC. As I said recently, when I had the honor of introducing Rick and his colleagues at the New York State Green Building Conference in Syracuse, N.Y., “From the dreams created at the kitchen table to the American Architectural Foundation Keystone Award in 2012, we are lucky to have Rick and the USGBC as our visionaries in sustainability.”

Cornelius B. Murphy Jr., PhD
Senior Fellow for Environmental and Sustainable Systems
State University of New York
College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF)


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